I received this book as an ARC earlier this summer from Harlequin, my first ARC ever! (Happy now FTC?) I was super intrigued by the summary:
She doesn’t see dead people, but…
She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.
Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about the need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who’ll be next…
So our girl Kaylee has a bit of a problem, well several…Her mom passed away when she was a baby, her Dad ran off to Ireland, leaving her back in the US in the care of her Aunt and Uncle, and one cousin who she doesn’t get along with in the slightest. Oh yeah one more thing – she gets an unbearable and inescapable urge to scream at the top of her lungs when she’s close to certain people…people who end up dying shortly thereafter.
This last part had me hooked, all the family internal drama is one thing, but the myth and legends of Banshees or bean sidhes was totally new to me, so I had no preconceptions and Ms. Vincent’s world enraptured me. From the very beginning I also loved the descriptive writing, I could almost feel how desperate and painful it was for Kaylee to hold back her screams in the first scene at a bar she sneaked into, surrounded by people, one of whom she knew was going to die. The way she clenched her teeth, the internal agony she had to keep it in…I could almost feel it right along with her.
Although she went through this agony a few times in the book I didn’t feel the description got too repetitive, enough new parts of what banshees go through and what she was feeling were revealed each time to make each experience subtly different.
On the flip side I felt that too many areas of her powers, of the secret paranormal world, of her family history, of the dangers she was now exposed to were hidden from her too long. This lack of knowledge not only put her in needless danger from being put off from knowing more about her new situation, but also seemed to needlessly elongate the book. I feel like it could have been 50 pages shorter at least. Like her family and new boyfriend were withholding information from her on purpose to draw out events even longer.
I mean if I found out I wasn’t a human, but a wailing banshee prompted by imminent death I would want to know as much as possible right away! Heck, let’s stay up all night talking about it! Maybe I should find out more about my parents and aunt and uncle since they might be banshees too! But Kaylee gets stonewalled a bit here which annoyed me.
The suspense plot line of why so many girls were dropping dead in Kaylee’s town for no apparent reason kept me on my toes and also helped us the reader, to gain more insight into the paranormal world, as well as how Kaylee would handle difficult situations morally and personally. She came out on top every time, and not in a Mary Sue way.
I also like Kaylee’s voice, to be honest I hardly ever EVER choose books in first person narrative if I can help it, but Ms. Vincent does a great job balancing Kaylee’s teenager thoughts while on the path to self discovery. And she’s a bit wry, a little matter-of-fact which really appealed to me. Take this quote for example (near the end, but 90% spoiler free!)
My gaze fell to the room where ____ had died, ____ had been restored, and I’d whacked a psychotic grim reaper with a cast iron skillet. Weirdest. Tuesday. Ever.
Ending on a bit of a cliffhanger with her budding romantic relationship, return of her father, and more lurking mysteries in the paranormal world I can’t wait to read more about Kaylee and her developing life as a banshee. I recommend this book for teens and adult alike, anyone looking to read a little bit of dark adventure! Final grade: A- for me!
The next edition in the Soul Screamers Series, My Soul To Save will be released in January 2010.